IMDb > Downhill Racer (1969)
Downhill Racer
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Downhill Racer (1969) More at IMDbPro »

Photos (See all 8 | slideshow) Videos
Downhill Racer -- A skier and his coach battle it out on the mountain in this trailer for classic late 60s film

Overview

User Rating:
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Director:
Writer:
James Salter (written by)
(more)
Contact:
View company contact information for Downhill Racer on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
15 January 1970 (Japan) See more »
Genre:
Tagline:
How fast must a man go to get from where he's at?
Plot:
Quietly cocky Robert Redford joins U.S. ski team as downhill racer and clashes with the team's coach, played by Gene Hackman. Lots of good skiing action leading to an exciting climax. Full summary » | Full synopsis »
Awards:
Won BAFTA Film Award. Another 3 wins & 2 nominations See more »
NewsDesk:
(37 articles)
Prime Cut | Blu-ray Review
 (From ioncinema. 28 July 2015, 6:00 PM, PDT)

James Salter Dies: Writer Of ‘Downhill Racer’ Was 90
 (From Deadline. 20 June 2015, 5:23 PM, PDT)

Acclaimed Writer James Salter Is Dead at 90
 (From Vulture. 20 June 2015, 9:01 AM, PDT)

User Reviews:
The pursuit of success - this time, on the mountain. See more (35 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order) (complete, awaiting verification)

Robert Redford ... David Chappellet

Gene Hackman ... Eugene Claire

Camilla Sparv ... Carole Stahl
Karl Michael Vogler ... Machet

Jim McMullan ... Johnny Creech
Kathleen Crowley ... Reporter

Dabney Coleman ... Mayo
Kenneth Kirk ... D.K. Bryan
Oren Stevens ... Tony Kipsmith
Jerry Dexter ... Ron Engel
Walter Stroud ... Mr. Chappellet
Carole Carle ... Lena
Rip McManus ... Bruce Devore
Joe Jay Jalbert ... Tommy Erb
Tom J. Kirk ... Stiles
Robin Hutton-Potts ... Gabriel
Heini Schuler ... Meier
Peter Rohr ... Boyriven
Arnold Alpiger ... Hinsch
Eddie Waldburger ... Haas
Marco Walli ... Istel
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Jack Ballard ... Candy Vendor (uncredited)
Robert Brendlin ... Announcer (uncredited)
Harald Dietl ... Journalist (uncredited)
Christian Doermer ... Brumm (uncredited)
Richard Egan ... Extra in bar scene (uncredited)

Michael Gempart ... Hotel Receptionist (uncredited)
Rudi Gertsch ... Selznick (uncredited)
Walter Gnilka ... Austrian Journalist (uncredited)
Werner Heyking ... Helgerson (uncredited)
Noam Pitlik ... T.V. Announcer (uncredited)
James Sandoe ... Spectator (uncredited)
Harald Schreiber ... Oliviera (uncredited)
Alexander Stampfer ... Skier No. 16 (uncredited)
Ulrike von Zerboni ... Jeanine (uncredited)

Natalie Wood ... Extra (uncredited)

Directed by
Michael Ritchie 
 
Writing credits
James Salter (written by)

Oakley Hall (novel "The Downhill Racers") uncredited

Produced by
Richard Gregson .... producer
 
Original Music by
Kenyon Hopkins 
 
Cinematography by
Brian Probyn 
 
Film Editing by
Richard A. Harris  (as Richard Harris)
 
Art Direction by
Ian Whittaker 
 
Costume Design by
Edith Head (uncredited)
 
Makeup Department
Bill Lodge .... makeup artist (as William J. Lodge)
 
Production Management
Walter Coblenz .... production manager
Stanley O'Toole .... production supervisor
Paul Hitchcock .... executive in charge of production (uncredited)
 
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Walter Coblenz .... assistant director
Graham Ford .... second assistant director
Kip Gowans .... assistant director
David Wimbury .... second assistant director
 
Art Department
Tony Teiger .... props
 
Sound Department
Elden Ruberg .... sound recordist
Kevin Sutton .... sound recordist
 
Special Effects by
Roy L. Downey .... special effects coordinator (uncredited)
 
Stunts
Joe Jay Jalbert .... stunts (uncredited)
Stefan Zürcher .... ski stunts (uncredited)
 
Camera and Electrical Department
Anthony Busbridge .... camera operator (as Tony Busbridge)
Alan Hewison .... camera operator
Joe Jay Jalbert .... camera operator
Jean-Paul Janssen .... camera operator
Jean-Pierre Janssen .... camera operator
Austin Parkinson .... camera operator
Michael Temple .... camera operator
Arthur Wooster .... camera operator
 
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Cynthia May .... wardrobe
 
Editorial Department
Nick Archer .... supervising editor
 
Other crew
Angela Allen .... continuity
Renate Arbes .... location manager (as Renate Neuchi)
Don Record .... title designer
Robert Simmonds .... location manager
Joe Jay Jalbert .... technical advisor (uncredited)
Natalie Wood .... production assistant (uncredited)
 
Thanks
Marc Hodler .... the producers would like to acknowledge their gratitude to: Federation International de Ski
 
Crew believed to be complete


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Additional Details

Also Known As:
Runtime:
101 min
Country:
Language:
Color:
Color (Technicolor)
Aspect Ratio:
1.85 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Certification:
Filming Locations:
Company:

Did You Know?

Trivia:
The movie's poster was as #4 of "The 25 Best Movie Posters Ever" by Premiere.See more »
Goofs:
Continuity: During the challenge race between Johnny and Dave (when Johnny crashes) the two skiers first have a pair of red and black skis, but the next shot farther on down the course they both have red skis.See more »
Movie Connections:
Referenced in Morgan Stewart's Coming Home (1987)See more »
Soundtrack:
That Old Black MagicSee more »

FAQ

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
1 out of 1 people found the following review useful.
The pursuit of success - this time, on the mountain., 12 October 2007
Author: malcolmi from Canada

Downhill Racer is about Olympic skiing, but it's also about American society, and about how sport gives the illusion of being an escape from the loneliness of being undereducated.

Dave Chappellet (Robert Redford) grew up in the isolation of rural Colorado, where the career option after high school is working on a ranch or going to Denver to take a hairdressing course. His talent on skis has earned him a call to the US national ski team as a replacement after one of the members fractures his leg in a European race. When he arrives in Germany after what seems to have been his first airplane flight, he meets his new roommate, a Dartmouth graduate, one of several team members from that same Eastern undergraduate world.

Chappellet remains cautious and defensive as he tries to navigate the manners, attitudes, and values of the team and of the European civilization he encounters. He's made even more prickly by the code of team play which he's required to accept from his demanding coach, Eugene Clair (Gene Hackman). Clair believes that good sportsmanship and team solidarity are the basis for success in international skiing, and that's important because success is what will achieve financial support for the team from American business. But Chappellet refuses to play the sportsmanship game - partly because he knows he can't speak the Ivy League language his teammates have mastered, and partly because he knows that winning is the only way he'll stay on the team, and Clair's concept of sportsmanship won't help him win, any more than would the attitude or values of Chappellet's embittered father back in Colorado. Dave Chappellet know he's going to have to ski his own race, always.

Downhill Racer features a variety of exciting ski races filmed and edited with great skill, and they reveal very powerfully that, in the midst of all the thousands of spectators, each skier is alone on the mountain, and that winning comes from a combination of relentless focus and arbitrary fortune. With this truth presented so clearly and compellingly, Chappellet's refusal to play his coach's game is validated. On race day he has to ski faster than anyone else. No one else can help him. And neither will membership in the right club (or school, or social background). He has to do it on his own.

But being on your own is very lonely. Chappellet begins to want to belong, and chases after a kind of club membership in Europe, pursuing the very attractively worldly Carole Stahl (Camilla Sparv), executive assistant to a German ski manufacturer. He catches her because he's becoming famous, and thus useful, but discovers that he's not important to her. He's a pleasant diversion, but he can be discarded as easily as a pair of gloves. He receives praise from his coach, but only after winning races. Until he wins, he's the target of Clair's angry lectures about not thinking of the good of the team. Hackman's strangled speech and look of frustrated disgust as he berates the uncooperative Redford for having taken an unacceptable risk after practice create a high-water mark in American film acting, as does the surly self-centredness of Redford's response.

At the end of the movie, narrowly dodging defeat in the most important race in his career, Chappellet is hoisted on the crowd's shoulders in a frozen moment of apparent triumph. But only one value exists - winning. And his win is already history. There's no love in it, no acceptance more profound than his coach's praise, the crowd's shouts of excitement. And tomorrow's winner is already eyeing him in an unspoken challenge. Dave Chappellet is going to be skiing down this mountain alone for the rest of his life.

Looking back across nearly forty years to watch this excellent film, we can already begin to hear the question asked by Robert Redford's character in The Candidate, "What happens next?" The answer may be bleak - more competition, more loneliness - but the film helps us discover the answer in a fascinating way, because it puts us on those skis, rushing at impossible speed down the mountain, in a cocoon of our own heartbeats, our own laboured breathing. We're forced to ask ourselves, "Would we make the team? Would we win? And if we did, would it mean anything?"

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